AAP AFL

Blues’ goalless first half in AFL loss

By AAP Newswire

Bottom side Carlton have plumbed new depths in a goalless first half of a 57-point AFL loss at Etihad Stadium to Fremantle, who have won on the road for the first time in 2018.

The Blues were booed off at halftime on Saturday by their fans after a Dockers side, led by big guns Lachie Neale and Nat Fyfe, had kicked the opening 12 majors of the game.

The young Blues did manage to stem the bleeding somewhat and respond with six goals to three in the second half of the 15.13 (103) to 6.10 (46) trouncing, although they still recorded their lowest score against Fremantle.

Carlton coach Brendon Bolton said there was a series of structural breakdowns in the first half, insisting it was too simplistic to put the 12 goals-to-nil start down simply to a lack of effort by his players.

"It's a really easy, sweeping statement to make and it can become a headline really quickly," he said after the bottom-placed Blues lost for the 20th time in their 22 games since mid-2017.

"I don't think any players, and particularly a young group, go out there to try and get beaten.

"But to learn how to play consistently at a high, high level doesn't happen immediately.

"It's a learned behaviour and we're too inconsistent with that at the moment.

"We're not happy about it and we'll work our way through it but it is a learned behaviour.

"No one deliberately goes out there to let that happen at AFL level."

Veteran defender Kade Simpson and stand-in captain Patrick Cripps, who had a game-high 38 possessions, were among a handful of Blues who could hold their heads high.

In contrast, the Dockers had winners all over the ground including returning skipper Fyfe, Neale and David Mundy, while youngsters Andrew Brayshaw and Stefan Giro also impressed.

The Dockers improved their win-loss record to 6-7 and head into their bye week with some decent momentum after successive victories against Adelaide and the Blues.

"We'd love the win-loss ledger to be a bit better but it's not the singular focus," said coach Ross Lyon.

"We've only won the last two weeks because it's been an outcome of improving our preparation, improving our competition and improving our system."

The Dockers had lost their previous five away matches this year by an average of 55 points.

The heavy defeat kept Carlton rooted to the bottom of the ladder ahead of a daunting clash next week against traditional rivals Collingwood.

Carlton's previous lowest score against Fremantle was 6.13 (49) in 1996.